After reading Bill Buford's kitchen memoir "Heat" I think I can contrive a hackneyed metaphorical recipe that boils down the life of a Babbo kitchen slave:

1. 1 cup of your Soul (pulverized)
2. 1 tablespoon Masochism
3. 2 Cloves Perfectionism (minced)
4. 1 pinch obscure knowledge of Old World cooking
5. 1/2 cup second degree burns
6. 1/2 cup various nicks, cuts and abrasions

Pressure cook for two years, or until the Soul has evaporated.

OK, that last line isn't fair.

Once again Buford has taken me on a wild trip through his latest obsession.

Heat is less a biography of Babbo chef/icon Mario Batali and more of a meticulous diary of one man taking a mere fanciful notion ("hey, I should try and get a job with Mario Batali") and taking that notion to it's extreme, practically absurd conclusion (Buford searching a library in Rome for the exact historical moment the egg was introduced in making a pasta; singing 'O Sole Mio' while making pasta in the kitchen of a small italian village and pondering the ethics of a Tuscan butcher using a Spanish cow).

Of course, it's all positively riveting.

We follow Buford from bumbling kitchen ignoramus to a scholar to everything arcane in Italian cookery. In the end even maestro Batali is ultimately impressed and a little perplexed by what Buford has learned.

A fascinating read, even if cooking is not your thing.

Thanks to the Denver Library for loaning me this book.